The Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn faced a landmark legal test on Wednesday, as New York’s highest court heard arguments in a case with major implications for economic development across the state.
You'd think that would be enough to merit print coverage.
It didn't, even though, as Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn points out, the Times has covered in print other arguably no more important Court of Appeals arguments.
City Room references
Shouldn't it have merited at least a paragraph in the City Room column, which sends print readers to the blog? After all, the lawsuit filed by DDDB and others against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority did get a paragraph in the column in Wednesday's paper.
And what was in Thursday's City Room column?
- An excerpt from the regular feature in which interesting people--in this case, a jazz drummer--takes questions from readers: six paragraphs.
- The screening of a 25-year old film about the Brooklyn badlands: four paragraphs.
- The hanging of former Gov. George Pataki's portrait in the State Capitol: two paragraphs.
I won't go as far as DDDB in implying that the Times downplayed the coverage based on the parent New York Times Company's reliance, along with Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner, on eminent domain to build the new Times Tower.
But it's sure suspicious.
(Would you believe it: a New York Times article slightly unbalanced in favor of Atlantic Yards opponents?)
Surely Forest City Ratner wasn't pleased by the coverage. Did someone call the publisher's office at the Times? I don't know. Does the publisher intervene in news coverage? That is not supposed to be happen.
If not, then the only explanation is incompetence. Was a print article about a real estate fraud in Harlem, however interesting, more important than the "landmark legal test"?
That's not a tough call, but here's an easier one: Are two paragraphs about Pataki's portrait more important than even a mention of this case?
Incompetence is no defense. There are lots of journalists looking for work these days.